The Meal Planner

from the archives with updated pictures and text. Original post date Aug. 6/08.

Are you of the camp that "beer is synonymous with urine" or the "beer is the best thing since sliced bread" club? I usually find that most people fit into one of these two categories no one really hunkers down and settles in the middle. I am whole-heartedly of the first group, while my husband is of the second. But he bumps it up a notch and perches high up on a branch of exclusivity where only high quality imported beers are considered drinkable. He and a couple other beer connoisseur friends get together every once in a while for snobbery and beer tasting. It's something he thoroughly enjoys, but it doesn't bode so well when my Dad is in town for a visit...and he brings his cheap beer. My husband cringes when he hears the crack of the aluminum can being opened and the smell of hops wafts in the air.

Even more cringe-worthy is when my Dad leaves, and in a gesture of kindness he leaves his unfinished pack of beer for Steve. This recipe was born out of that lonesome, untouched beer wallowing in self-pity at the back corner of my fridge.

Cheap beer never tasted better.

Recipe from George Duran

Serves 4-6

Spice Rub:
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested

1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken
1 (12-ounce) can beer

Heat up your BBQ to about medium-high and make sure it has a lid big enough to accommodate the bird. Put a drip pan below the grates. This step is very important! We forgot and we had a large fire on our hands. I had to put the chicken into a pan to stop it from being engulfed in flames. Next time, I'll follow the directions and put it under the grate ;) You also want to make sure you only turn on one side of the burners, because the chicken will go on the other side, so it gets the indirect heat.

Mix the ingredients for the spice rub until they are well blended. (This will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 week.) Rub it all over the chicken, inside and out. Don't be shy with it. It looks like a lot, but rub it everywhere: inside the chicken, outside the chicken, under the skin if you want. It's so good, you don't want to miss out on an ounce of the flavor. I found by rubbing it inside the chicken, it also seemed to infuse the chicken with more flavor.

Open the beer and take a big swig or just pour out a couple of ounces (which is what I did ;). Sit the chicken on the beer can, so the legs are at the bottom and the wings are at the top. Stand the beer can on the grates over the drip pan (on the side you didn't turn on). Put the cover on and cook over indirect heat until the juices run clear, about 1 hour. (If using charcoal, push the coals to one side so the chicken is not over direct heat.) If you have a temperature gauge on your BBQ you want it to read around 350 to 400 degrees. When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of about 175 degrees, remove the chicken from the grill to a platter and cover with aluminum foil and let sit for about 10 minutes. This helps the juices in the chicken to redistribute and the heat of the chicken will continue to cook it so it reaches a safe internal temperature of 180 degrees. Carve the chicken and serve with your favorite summer BBQ side dishes.

Click here for printable version of Spice-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

You can also make an inexpensive and slurpably delicious Tex Mex Chicken & Rotini Soup with the leftovers.


This chicken oozes with succulent juices. The spice-rub has a smoky/savory quality to it that is transformed by the smoke of the BBQ. The grill charbroils it leaving the skin crispy and full of flavor. It is absolutely not the same making it in a 350 degree oven. Tried it once and never again. Done on the BBQ, the essence of the spice rub gets infused through out the meat, leaving it moist and irresistible.

And don't worry....there's no "beer" taste to the meat. With a chicken like this, Dad I'll take your leftover beer anytime!

I should also note that if you really want to leave out the beer you can. I tried this once unintentionally (my beer can chicken fell over and by the time I rescued the chicken all the beer was gone!). I used just the spice-rub with the chicken over indirect heat on the BBQ and it was still wonderful.

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4 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    HAHA love the picture!

  2. My husband described it as "a chicken taking a Coors Light crap..." :)

  3. penny Says:

    what a fantastic idea! I wish I have a open burner or BBQ to try this.

  4. HunnerWoof Says: can do it in the oven. Just put it in a roasting pan on the low shelf (probably have to remove the other racks), put it to 350 and roast for an hour or so. Still works great!